Coral Springs Resident Test Drives Animal Shelter’s ‘Lunch Buddies’ Program

Coral Springs Resident Test Drives Animal Shelter’s 'Lunch Buddies' Program

Brandee Smith takes a Broward County shelter dog out for a spin {photo by Brandee Smith]

By: Jen Russon

Though she doesn’t live close to the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption, long-time Coral Springs resident, Brandee Smith said she loves visiting to take her four-legged friend for lunch.

“Well, we don’t really eat lunch, so much as walk around in the shade at Birch State Park or walk along the New River in Fort Lauderdale,” said Smith.

By ‘we,’ Smith is talking about a pit bull named Hadley, just one of the many animals up for adoption at the shelter. She and Hadley have been out a couple of times, including stopping by an outdoor restaurant to eat and take in live music.

“Hadley did great out there — the music didn’t bother her at all, and lots of people stopped to pet her,” she said.

Because of the “Lunch Buddies” program, potential fosters and adoptive families can schedule a date with eligible dogs and get an idea of what it would be like to take the animal in.

“When I take Hadley out with me, she wears a vest that lets people know she’s up for adoption — even the leash I use lets people know,” said Smith. 

She added details of her and the dog’s time together are relayed to the shelter, so they can keep a file on Hadley, letting her future owners know what to expect.

The Lunch Buddies program is advertised on the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption’s Facebook page, where volunteers can take a look at past doggie dates and email the shelter for the chance to go on one themselves. 

“Volunteers come to the shelter and sign out a shelter dog. The dog will not only have a break from the shelter environment but will hopefully get a little adoption exposure, too,” read a recent post.

As for Smith, a city employee with Coral Springs Police for 30 years and counting, she’s not ready to adopt just yet —  but loves being good company for dogs in need.

“Grab a blanket for your backseat and pick up a dog when and if you can. Lunch Buddies is a great program.”

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